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Historical Fiction on the Booker Prize 2023 Longlist
Well, it’s here. And it’s slim pickin’s for historical fiction this year.
I mentioned in my article on Historical Fiction set in Malaysia that Tan Twan Eng has a book hitting the shelves in October. Apparently, the advanced reader copies made a big impression. Here he is on the Booker Longlist again with The House of Doors, set in 1921 Penang.
This Other Eden, by Paul Harding, begins in 1792 in an island enclave of castaways off the US eastern seaboard, their refuge disrupted one hundred+ years later by an invasion of do-gooders.
The links will take you to the Booker’s Substack pages for each novel.
I happened to notice when looking at their Amazon sites—these three books are clocking in at about 225 pages on average. That’s around 60K words—extremely short for historical fiction. However, categorized as literary fiction, the shorter lengths are more in line with that genre.
A casual look at a few more of the longlisted books: two are in the low 300s, one is 150 pages (!) and one outlier is 650. This might be more evidence of a trend toward shorter books. Nevermind, my Work in Progess will still be a doorstop.
Other random publishing news:
I picked up Elizabeth Chadwick’s new book, The King’s Jewel, 11th century Wales, for $0.99 (Amazon Kindle) this week. Grab it now, before the price changes. It’s getting excellent reviews.
I also noticed that a mainstay of Hist Fic, Wilbur Smith, has a new release: Nemesis: A Novel of the French Revolution. It is a continuation of his Courtney family saga and, as such, takes place between Cape Town and Calcutta. I’m not likely to read a book on the French Revolution, typically set in Europe, but this premise definitely appeals to my Long Ago & Far Away inclinations. I have read others of his Courtney saga and most of his The Egyptian series. I last read Monsoon but had to quickly skim all of the elephant hunt scenes. Otherwise, he’s always good for a swashbuckling, high-seas adventure.
[FYI: I am not an Amazon affiliate. I’m just happy if you read Historical Fiction.]
There you have a round-up to keep your To Be Read pile growing. Next week, I want to tell you about some gems I am finding to read as serialized fiction on Substack. Stay tuned! And keep reading!